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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Android 3/3 : My experience with Android

Part 3/3

Part 1:

Part 2:

What I am going to share here is MY experience of Android.

By now it is pretty obvious I was blown away by Android.
Here's why:

let's begin with BASIC features that it did so well:

1. Contacts: the MOST essential part of a phone
It SYNCs contacts like no other:
Not only did it take ALL contacts with ALL details VERY smoothly from my old Nokia E72 (that process is amazing and it has the option in-built where it has in it's database choice for almost EVERY damn phone possible in recent times - I am floored! Even Nokia allowed only Nokia to Nokia via the phone over BT.

To sync from Nokia to BB or Nokia to iPhone - without outlook - costs anywhere from 150 to 250 Rs in most 'shops'. They have a special device for it.

But my Android did IT
then went one more step further:
when provided with the details :
it synced contacts with:
my 4 gmail ids (the important ones)
my FaceBook account - synce the calendar and therefore Birthdays too !
Yahoo messenger
Yahoo mail
Hotmail account

WOAH. And it automatically detected duplicates, merged them, provided individual fields and even synced the latest profile pics from FB into the contacts (& does it regularly).
This led to some massive 6500+ contacts in the phonebook.
Yes, it did slow down a little. No doubt. So then I had the option to let it show only the ones I wanted - so tweaked it a little - and now its as fast as my nokia. But better equipped.

2. Messaging:
I spent half an hour searching for a Sent items folder: there was NONE.
It was a threaded view - sent items reflected in the same window. Only separate folder for drafts.
And the NUMBER of options!
I can copy paste text from anywhere to anywhere.
Just highlight it (with a nifty magnifying tool) and it lets me share it - over email, whatsapp, web, fb, twitter - you name it. Every new feature install syncs in and links in right upto the roots deep inside the system.
Made work really easy!
Have a nice sms that I want to put as my FB status msg - 3 taps and its shared. Got some new news to be broadcasted on whatsapp - 4 taps and shared.
Above all - whenever and wherever the on-screen keyboard pops up (messaging, search, email etc. etc) - there is a small microphone icon - I can just speak and it types it out with about 97% accuracy in proper english despite major background noise. ( Speech to Text and Text to Speech too)

3. Phone Calls:
the call history, integration of phone contacts, visual treat is too much.
For e.g. it shows me the latest FB pic with the latest FB status update of that person when they call right on the screen!
Awesome features like: the phone automatically detects and rings louder when inside your pocket or bad and lowers the volume once you have fetched it out!
Now THAT is a smart phone.

4. Gallery + Camera + Videos : Almost everything you saw in that iPhone ad. Pinch to zoom,. quick, clarity, folder names converted to album names. Fast smooth (not buggy like nokia). Quick to understand. Great clarity. And ofcourse awesome sharing over every medium - EVEN Bluetooth (without any additional app)

5. FM Radio and Music player: yes it has a Radio! Music Player - output was decent to good. You can flip through albums. Even when phone is locked change the volume and track. but I sorely missed the presence of an Equalizer by default

6. the BROWSER ! - oh yes! the BEST stock browser (safari comes close no doubt, but absence of flash screws it up). AMAZING browser.
It re-aligns the text when you zoom in to fit it on 1 screen. Ever thing is smooth, intuitive, clear and enjoyable.
Ofcourse there's always Opera - but more on that later.

You know this could go on & on... these are all basic features - many phones do share a LOT of these features,
so whats new?

APPS. Applications. APP STORE. ANDROID MARKET. EcoSystem!

You name it and there's an app.

WHATEVER you don't like - there's an app to replace it.
And LOADS of free ones.

Don't like the default music player - theres Winamp ! Yes. Winamp. (& you can chose to make it the default player).
Don't like the browser - there's Firefox! Yes, Firefox which can sync bookmarks from your PC and can also be set as default.
Ofcourse theres google:
So GMAIL - smooth as ever.
Gtalk with voice & video chat
G Maps!
G docs app - so all google docs at your finger tips - with Multiple accounts ! Woohoo!

Times of India, CNN, BBC, MSNBC
Engadget, Team Bhp, Gsmarena
Apps to help you do push ups, sit ups, running, jogging
Apps to watch your calories, know whats mixed in your drinks
Apps to calculate distance, conversion, weight, balance, level
Apps to give you first aid guide, medicines info


You want reminders;
Sure, do you want to be reminded by no. of days left, by alarm, by a note, by flicker on your screen, by sms, want to send sms on particular day, want to send a card : ALL SET.
You want to be reminded if a thunderstorm is coming - done. You want to be reminded if your girlfriend has her periods - done.

You want integration: It will remember your contact, show the last calendar entry with them, last messages shared with them, emails and the pics of them in your phone or fb.

Homescreens: a Widget for everything!
Message widget - read & reply right on the screen. calendar, voice recorder. You name it! Just name it!

Now if it only had a switchblade knife coming out of its side - it would really be the Swiss Army Knife !!!

Okay, sorry I got carried away.
In short - the APPS and their eco-system make this a very formidable OS rivalled only by the iOS. No doubt.
Both very competitive and almost equal.
I give android the edge for 2 simple reasons: 1. Google ('nough said) and 2. more free apps with lesser restrictions

But then it isn't all work. Inspite of the smooth email, integration, document editing, google docs, calendar syncs, tasks & to-do.

The phone is SO much fun. There is SO much of life into the phone.
Like the raindrops that drop on your homescreen and a wiper wipes them off - when its raining outside and the weather tells you its raining.
Or the way the clouds come up on your screen on a cloudy day (with lightning in case of a thunderstorm).
The way to the to-do notes flip and strike off at a tap.
FB, Twitter, Google+ widgets : everything at 1 simple glance.
(thanks to HTC Sense UI too actually)

It is an experience to be believed.
Seriously, it changes the way you look at your phone.
It really becomes an extension of you.
And every bit is customizable.
If you don't like HTC Sense UI - try Go Launcher. It lets you add upto 18 homescreens and you can customize the animation and appearance of every icon, every screen, every widget every app.
A new experience EVERYDAY..

And there is no major learning curve. It is very simple and intuitive. You start enjoying it within the 1st 2 hours itself.


But, I am just thrilled, overjoyed with my experience.
I wish to applaud the makers of this OS, extend my appreciation and gratitude and share my feelings with the rest of the world via my blog.
And yes I would genuinely advise and recommend this OS for many a purpose to many a people.

BUT BUT BUT - there are some things I did not like
(alas, the heart is never satisfied...)

Somethings that I miss, sorely miss and wish for:
(especially in my HTC Desire Z)

Sorely Miss:
Bigger better battery - these phones need 1600mAh +. They need all the juice they can get.
What my Nokia used to last me 1 1/4 day with my heavy usage - same for the droid is 13 hours. (ofcourse it does much more with bigger screen - but still)

Front facing camera (now present in newer models)

Bigger screen

Higher Processor

USB on the go functionality - where a small adapter is connected to the microUSB port and a pendrive can be connected to the port which can be read by the system just like a memory card. It is present on new Nokias like E7 and would really make the phone a mini-laptop.

Miss (functions that would have been nice to have but not heart breaking):
Call receive and call reject keys - they Green & Red keys - no matter what i feel they are essential.

'Exit' option - most apps - dont have an 'exit' option. You never know wether they are running in background or really closed.

More control over apps - who is allowed to do what. Kind of like the 'msconfig' option in windows.

Touchscreen could be better - sadly it is really not at par as the iPhone (I admit nobody beats them there - till date)

I WISH (the future):

It really had a knife hidden in it somewhere (kidding)

Dual booting - windows 7 + android (I know of people who have managed to have dual boot Windows Phone 7 and Android on their rooted phones)

The future is tablets - no doubt.
What is the DREAM
is a tablet which runs Windows and Android with a keyboard (detachable or in the case) and which can support any external devices accordingly.

This will happen when Android comes out with Icecream Sandwich which will be their unified OS for phones and tablets (currently Gingerbread is for phones and Honeycomb is for tablets only)
Windows 8 (not windows phone 8) will be released which is optimized for touch screens.

So say an Atom processor or an Ivybridge intel processor - with Win 8 on my basic core machine at home,
win8 + android on my tablet and an external keyboard
and can connect any usb to the tablet - pen drive to external cd writer or maybe a dock.
and an android phone.

OR: - none of this:
with a dual boot Android + Win8
With external keyboard - in the case
SIM Card slot + 3G - calls over a bluetooth handsfree
A media dock - this can be kept at home - it houses the cd/dvd writer - more ports for USB display adapter and also a dedicated Graphics card or GPU - so when I plug in my tablet at home or workstation I have complete power and processing to do high end work too.
And printer connected to the dock.
While when on the go - I have all the files with me, can access them and do light editing too. + the cloud.
And maybe a pico projector inbuilt too (asking for too much I know)

Now THAT would be perfect. But it would be putting all your eggs in 1 basket. But still - Overall it will work out cheaper, efficient and simpler than currently having 3-4 different machines and shuttling data between them. Also cloud storage is catching up too.

This dream:
As of now
is partially possible with Apple ( iOS, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, Macbook Pro, Lion OS + iTunes)
partially possible with Google (Gmail cloud + Chrome Browser + Android + Chrome OS + All media services - picassa, youtube, google+, docs etc.)

Advantage with Google is - you can choose different manufacturers according to your budget and tastes.

Some glimpses of my fantasy/ imagination are already visible today:
ViewSonic 10 inch viewpad tablet
the new Sony Vaio Z with media dock
the Asus Padphone & the Asus Transformer Pad
the Acer Iconia Tab 500
the Samsung Chrome OS equipped netbook.

I think I have rambled on enough and got totally carried away by android. Worse than a freshly smitten love puppy.

A big round of applause to anyone who does manage to read through all 3 parts of this love story.
And to those who don't - another round of applause - you are still SANE..
Sorry - but this is me.


Ajay said...

Read all 3 parts. very nice :-) To know the future of things to come.. for things that will take shape.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

Thanks Ajay.

Hats off to you for having the patience to read all 3 parts !

Too much!

Thank you.

Prasad Naik said...

Hope u r the same Dr. Suraj from Team-BHP member.
I hv read ur Post on Palm Pixi there & book one Pixi Unlocked on Ebay Global. But got stuck up with setting. I can not move further to APN setting etc. Can u help me in this matter ?? or can guide a person for it.. I stay in mumbai.
My email id is &
cell no. is 9870389609
Please help me in this matter
Prasad Naik

Dr.Rahul Modhave said...

hush!!! really was a mouthful but pretty clear and specific info to guide enough about android especially amateurs..thanks alot suraj!

and yes i do agree it should have a swiss knife..:-)

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Rahul.

Thanks a lot buddy.

For all your patience of reading through & finally commenting!

All the best for Android.


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Original Work by Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani

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